Learning from the “Frontrunner”? A Multidisciplinary Analysis of the Chinese Social Credit System and its Impact on Germany

China’s Social Credit System (SCS) is an artificial intelligence supported system seeking to enhance moral behavior, financial reliability and social control. It is one of the most significant examples of radical digital innovation, and to date the largest attempt made in social engineering. Its effects transcend China as it affects foreign companies and individuals present in China – including those of Germany and Bavaria. Against this background, this interdisciplinary project investigates the opportunities and risks derived from China’s digital transformation (through the SCS) and its impact on Germany and Bavaria’s government, firms and society. To this end, we build on the team’s expertise on the technical structure of the SCS from an informatics perspective; on cooperation and competition between Chinese and foreign firms, from an economics perspective; and on the impact of the SCS in global governance and diffusion processes from a political science perspective. This project is a cooperation between the Technical University of Munich (Chair of European and Global Governance and Chair of Cyber Trust) and the University of Würzburg (Chair of China Business and Economics).

This project is funded by the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt) - Project duration: 2020-2022

bidt project website


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Chen, M./Bogner, K./Becheva, J./Grossklags, J. (2021): The Transparency of the Chinese Social Credit System from the Perspective of German Organizations. ECIS 2021 Research Papers. 47. https://aisel.aisnet.org/ecis2021_rp/47

Engelmann S./Chen, M./Dang, L./Grossklags, J. (2021): Blacklists and Redlists in the Chinese Social Credit System: Diversity, Flexibility, and Comprehensiveness. Proceedings of the 2021 AAAI/ACM Conference on AI, Ethics, and Society. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 78–88. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3461702.3462535

Heldt, E./Fischer, D./Grossklags, J./Serrano Oswald, O.R. (2020): bidt-Interview: Digitaler Wettbewerb - „Ein riesiges Experiment“, 17.03.2020, https://www.bidt.digital/sozialpunktesystem/

Chen M. and Grossklags J. (2020): An Analysis of the Current State of the Consumer Credit Reporting System in China. Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies, Vol.2020 (Issue 4), pp. 89-110. https://doi.org/10.2478/popets-2020-0064

Krause T. and Fischer D. (2020) An Economic Approach to China’s Social Credit System. In: Everling O. (eds) Social Credit Rating. Springer Gabler, Wiesbaden. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-658-29653-7_22

Engelmann, S./Chen, M./Fischer, F./ Kao, C./ Grossklags, J. (2019): Clear Sanctions, Vague Rewards: How China's Social Credit System Currently Defines "Good" and "Bad" Behavior. Proceedings of the Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT* '19). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 69–78. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3287560.3287585